A missing chapter has been found for one of the first great works of literature.
Researchers have discovered a new clay tablet that adds 20 previously unknown lines to the ‘Epic of Gilgamesh’.
The famous poem, which dates back to 2100 BC, tells the story of Gilgamesh, king of Uruk, and Enkidu, a man created by the gods to stop him from oppressing the people of Uruk.
The new lines from the poem were discovered by accident when a history museum in Iraq made a deal with a smuggler to purchase a set of 80 to 90 clay tablets.
The Sulaymaniyah Museum in Slemani had been involved engaging in these dealings as a way to regain valuable artifacts following the Iraq War, according to Ancient History Et Cetera.
Farouk Al-Rawi, a professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London was the first to spot the tablet.
After realising its significant, he purchase the block of clay, which featured cuneiform writing, for $800 (£530).
It is 11cm (4.3 inches) high, 9.5cm (3.7 inchs) wide and 3cm (1.2 inches) thick and reveals a previously unknown ‘chapter’ of the epic poem from ancient Mesopotamia.
Mesopotamia was an ancient region in the eastern Mediterranean bounded in the northeast by the Zagros Mountains and in the southeast by the Arabian Plateau.